Fieldtripp Focus – Lee Ann Steyns of Signing Babies

Taught by the vibrant Lee Ann Steyns, Signing Babies teaches beginning sign language to help parents communicate with their little ones. We caught up with Lee Ann to find out more about this ‘hands-on’ fieldtripp.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I’m a local Vancouver mom with two school-aged kids, and a passion for communication and connecting to my community. My background is in teaching preschool and other kids’ programs in the community, and I became passionate about sign language after becoming a mother and teaching my first baby some beginner signs. She was colicky and I was desperate to help, so creating better communication became the primary goal outside of her crying times each day. We had so much fun using my preschool songs and rhymes to practice signs together, and she was understanding my signs within a couple weeks. I started teaching classes soon after she turned one.

Tell us about the types of workshops you host.

I teach families with young babies and toddlers how to introduce American Sign Language into their daily lives together. We start with the basics for everyday life with signs for more, done, milk, diaper, bath, eat, and then move onto vocabulary for mealtime, playtime, bedtime, animals, etc. My workshops are structured but playful, with full worksheets on all the signs we cover and the lyrics to all the songs we sing so parents are ready to start signing right away.

What do you love about teaching sign language?

I love meeting families, and offering a simple tool that can help parents lessen frustration levels and the guessing games that happen before their babies can talk.

How can the successful communication affect the happiness of both little ones and their caregivers?

Everyone longs to be understood and responded to, and babies are no different. They have so much to tell us! Sign language allows us to bridge the gap and tap into our little ones’ natural ability to use their bodies to communicate before they are able to talk. Once there’s successful communication, frustration levels dramatically decrease for both parents and babies, which allows even better bonding and ease.

What inspires you?

I always feel inspired when I am in nature, so living in Vancouver allows me to recharge regularly by getting my toes in the sand at the beach or breathing in deeply in the forests. And my clients telling me about their babies signing back to them still gives me goose bumps every time!

Signing Babies is happening on July 7th, 14th, and 21st at 12:30PM. Tickets are $45 per family for all 3 workshop dates.

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